As we get past another year of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have gone through a lot — not only as individuals, but as a community and a country. Being cut off from family and friends. Losing our jobs and our livelihoods. Losing people in our lives who are irreplaceable.
And there’s been a whole lot more than just COVID-19 to deal with: the ever-present anxiety that pollution and global warming will destroy the world in a matter of years. The animosity toward Joe Biden that led to people storming the U.S. Capitol. People demonstrating in the streets for police accountability and justice. The breakdown of compromise and debate, with people adopting the mentality that you are either with us or against us.
But despite all that, we are still here, and things are getting better. We have developed better treatments for COVID-19 and are learning more about it and its variants. There have been many police reforms, not only at the local level but also nationally. Renewable energy is growing at a record rate. We haven’t gotten into any new wars and the world is more peaceful. And there have been countless amazing people throughout this pandemic who have gone above and beyond to help their communities and fellow man.
Things may still be bad in a lot of ways, but as long as we have hope for the future and get up to do our part, we can make the future we want.
I care about the environment so I’m doing my best and volunteering with 808 Cleanups to restore our islands’ native plants, but also to clean up trash around our communities. I have donated blood multiple times despite a phobia of my own blood and needles.
In 2022, I will do everything I can to try and help people and make a difference in our world for the better.
Because at the end of the day, we can’t just wish for things to get better. We need to be the ones to do this and carry the burden of progress and hope, for those we lost along the way and for those who will come.
As a great man once said, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
Alone these problems may seem hopeless; but together, we are ohana and we can make things better for ourselves, for our children and for future generations.
Eric Sarrafian is a Leeward Community College student studying political science and Hawaiian history. He lives in Waipahu.
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